Fox host Maria Bartiromo has become a major conduit for right-wing conspiracy theories about computer systems altering vote totals in the presidential election, with the anchor spinning a web of paranoia in an effort to prove that President-elect Joe Biden did not really win at all.
Bartiromo has hosted segments nearly every day since November 8 spinning the usual right-wing media tales of Democrats cheating in the election in some amorphous fashion. Just this morning, on the opening hour of her show Mornings with Maria Bartiromo, there were four segment blocks focusing on the Trump team’s allegations that software “backdoors” in the vote-counting machines were used to change votes, that “the 2020 election will be overturned,” that the certification process of the election might be delayed, and that some state governors have received financial kickbacks through payments to their families.
Bartiromo has also created a picture of a vast, international conspiracy to alter the results electronically — centered around Dominion Voting Systems, a voting machines vendor founded in Canada and with significant operations in the United States. On both her weekend program Sunday Morning Futures on Fox News and her daily program Mornings with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business, Bartiromo has spoken with sources such as Trump-connected lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell to portray Dominion as the center of a conspiracy to steal the election from Trump electronically.
As a result, this topic has been discussed in at least one segment almost every day since November 8 — a total of 11 discussion segments, including three just today. Here’s a list of facts debunking claims Bartiromo or her guests have made:
The dead are not mysteriously voting
Bartiromo and her guests have repeatedly alleged that a great number of votes were cast under the names of dead people. A variety of news sites have found most of these supposed cases resulted from clerical errors, in which ballots were mistakenly entered under the wrong registration entries due to similar names. (For example, a legitimate vote from a Michigan man was mistakenly logged under his late father who had the same name.)
Seriously: The vote totals weren’t changed
Bartiromo and her guests have claimed repeatedly that the vote-counting machines have enabled corrupt officials to rig the results via computer software — though the proof is yet to be revealed — and that perhaps the CIA has known about this.
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and various election security agencies released a statement Thursday declaring that “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” and that paper ballot systems guarantee the ability to examine and correct any mistakes.
The Michigan error — it really was that simple
One of the focal points for Bartiromo and her guests has been an election-night error that occurred in Antrim County, Michigan, causing the small, heavily Republican county to seemingly flip for Biden when its votes were first reported. The Detroit Free Press found that it was because the county clerk there had neglected to properly run a software update across its entire system, causing a spreadsheet issue. It was soon spotted and fixed.
The New York Times found that some conspiracy theories even attribute software glitches that occurred elsewhere in the country to Dominion — when in fact those localities were using systems from different companies.
Dominion actually has bipartisan connections
Bartiromo has repeatedly asserted that the family of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has a major investment in the company. (Bartiromo is apparently conflating two different conspiracy theories — one involving a former Pelosi staffer working as a lobbyist for Dominion and the other falsely claiming that the husband of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein holds a stake in Dominion.)
The Associated Press has debunked a number of claims about Democratic politicians’ family members having financial stakes, finding them to be “baseless,” and the company is “75.2% owned by the New York-based private equity firm Staple Street Capital.” And while it is true that Pelosi’s former chief of staff has worked for the company as a lobbyist, so too have staffers for Republicans.
Lawsuits forced Georgia to use Dominion in order to have a paper trail
On the November 10 edition of her show, Bartiromo spoke with Republican lawyer Cleta Mitchell, who claimed it was a “left-wing organization that sued the state of Georgia” to buy Dominion equipment. In fact, years of litigation forced Georgia to abandon a previous, totally paperless voting system, which was found to be insecure.
There is no evidence of any foreign interference with the voting system
On November 11, Powell appeared on Bartiromo’s show and suggested that “one of our theories” is that defects in the Dominion voting systems were intentionally placed there by China, “because I think there is a high likelihood that it is China, for the benefit of Joe Biden, that did this election rigging.”
On November 12, Bartiromo brought on Giuliani, asking him: “Another source was telling me that there was money behind the Dominion Voting programs from outside of the United States. Are you seeing money coming from places like Venezuela and Cuba?”
Giuliani claimed that Dominion is “a foreign company — that raises questions immediately, why are we having a foreign company do our elections? It is Canada — maybe,” before he then connected it to Venezuela and the Chavez regime. By the end of the discussion, Giuliani was calling Dominion “a Venezuelan company that has Chinese parts in it” and claimed that “the Dominion results go back to a main computer somewhere that could have capacity to change the votes.”
Just as a reminder, the AP reported that Dominion is majority-owned by a New York-based private equity firm. And the security agencies released a statement on November 12, saying the election was “the most secure in American history” and that there is no evidence that “any voting system” was “in any way compromised.” The statement also said, “All of the states with close results in the 2020 presidential race have paper records of each vote, allowing the ability to go back and count each ballot if necessary.”
As with many conspiracy theories, a slight germ of truth is being exaggerated beyond any plausibility: Another voting machine company called Sequoia, which received scrutiny in the mid-2000s for links to Venezuela, was bought out by Dominion in 2010 — thus transferring its remaining assets and election systems contracts into North American ownership.
Bartiromo and Giuliani continued to hammer this point on the November 15 edition of Sunday Morning Futures, however, with Giuliani railing against Sequoia’s former parent company Smartmatic — and even bringing in liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
“The chairman of Smartmatic is a close business associate of George Soros,” Giuliani said. “I have to tell you more?”